What’s the Story: Beca Mitchell (Anna Kendrick) is a new freshman attending Barden University. Despite getting a free education because of her father, she wants to become a music producer/deejay based on making different mash-ups. However, with no interest in college, she stumbles across The Barden Bellas, an all-female a cappella singing group looking to redeem themselves after an epic fail at last year’s finals, as leader Aubrey Posen (Anna Camp) vomited on stage. So this year, these new recruits must find the right pitch to beat their competition, The Treblemakers finally.
As someone who participated in choir when Pitch Perfect was released, I honestly couldn’t care less because I didn’t think it looked good at all. Most didn’t know this musical comedy is based on Mickey Rapkin’s book titled “Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate a Cappella Glory,” but the first thought that came from my head after watching the trailer was, “a movie about a cappella? How are you going to make that work?” A Capella is actually cool when you think about it, but it sounded dumb. I didn’t see it in theaters, but my mom and sister did. Since it came out on home release relatively early, I bought it as a Christmas gift for my sister and gave it a watch when she was out of town. As it turned out, Pitch Perfect was surprisingly good, and it made me eat my own words.
This could’ve been another stink pile still riding the stench of whatever Joyful Noise did, but I didn’t find myself hating it. Is it the most profound movie ever made? No, but it worked out well as I unexpectedly thought it would be. Director Jason Moore and writer Kay Cannon do a solid job of creating a comedy that isn’t just leaning towards a female audience, but it’s for those who also enjoy a good tune, belting out into the world. If I had to combine three movies that come to mind when watching this, it’s like Bring It On, Mean Girls, and Bridesmaids all rolled into one. You can look at this as an underdog story about wanting The Bellas to succeed. It certainly takes a lot of practice and harmonizing to get things right, and it’s a group that has to stick with tradition, which includes performing that one Ace of Base song I grew tired up. But there’s always somebody who can potentially shake things up for the best to win the competition.
Now, Anna Kendrick has already proved herself to be a recognizable name in Hollywood. I really liked her as Beca; she’s someone who’s stand-offish, pushing people away, and has a pleasant singing voice over a shallow personify her’s. It was nice seeing her in the lead, taking charge and being cool and beautiful and stuff. However, the true scene-stealer that had everybody talking was Rebel Wilson’s breakout performance as Fat Amy. Some may remember her as Kristen Wiig’s roommate in Bridesmaids, and Wilson ultimately had some of the funniest laughs here where she too can sing but know not to take her character seriously. Bar-none the best role in her career. The rest of the cast did well too, including Britney Snow’s Chloe, the co-leader of the Bellas who’s fans wants to ship her and Beca super hard; Anna Camp’s Aubrey, leader of The Bellas who’s always seen as controlling, and Skylar Astin’s Jesse, another freshman who loves film scores and singing. I mean, who wouldn’t want to smooth Kendrick is showing her The Breakfast Club?
And for a comedy revolving around the subject of an a cappella group, this really makes the concept sound cooler and proof positive it was becoming a valid form of music. It will be more attached to music people rather than those who usually find it annoying. They were all amusing about watching these so-called “musical numbers” of everybody performing, whether during a competition or in an impressive riff-off that made me have Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” in my head as well as “Since U Been Gone.” Actually, the movie starts with The Treblemakers singing Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop The Music,” and we sang that in Menz Choir my senior year. Not to brag, but I think we crushed it. But it’s also pretty hilarious, and I didn’t know I wouldn’t find it funny. Not every joke hits, but Cannon’s script provides good moments from almost all characters, especially Hana Mae Lee, as the very soft-spoken Lilly speaking strange things.
The main default the movie has is that it’s really predictable and follows a formulaic storyline. While amusing, it doesn’t take many surprises. That’s true when Jesse’s magic-obsessed roommate Benji (Ben Platt) doesn’t get accepted into the Treblemakers, and we all know how’ll that turn out in the end. However, it’s didn’t go for the effort to be the most amazing movie about a capella singers in the world, so there’s that.
Overall, I’ve always had a soft spot for the original Pitch Perfect. It’s funny when it needs to be, has catchy music to jam to, and it’s pretty entertaining from a guy’s perspective. So anytime it’s on TV, I usually flip it on just to have it on in the background. But have you seen this and did it turn out to be a surprise just like me?